Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Eddie Jane Pelkey
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Gardens - stepping stones to heaven

Escape with Eddie


For the past several months I have been nursing my husband, Donald. While he was in the process of leaving this earth for the broader realms of heaven, we talked about his garden. This was a garden he nourished and fed since we arrived in Kettle River 13 years ago. It started with a clay base and progressed from there. There truly is only one direction the garden could go. It was fed with mulch, horse manure, cardboard layers, more compost and love. Over the ensuing years, those raised beds have blossomed and prospered.

Five years ago, this garden was the apple of Don’s eye. He confessed to a neighbor, Dan Reed, moving here to Kettle River increased his life span by 10 years.

I suppose many folks would wonder how a garden and a new setting could enhance life. The answer is really simple: Feeding a garden nourishes the earth. A garden doesn’t just enhance the small plot of earth it resides on, it adds immeasurably to the planet. Don was a true conservator of the earth.

During his last months, the garden catalogs kept arriving at our door. I would study them while I was in the process of nursing him. Imagining the bounty of the earth kept me going through some rough times. They soothed him, too.

For Christmas, I had Alden Disterhaupt build a new garden gate for Don’s garden. It will be hung when the weather warms again. Last summer, the garden laid fallow because Don was unable to tend to it. In the fall, I had the garden weed whipped and had some perennial lilies transplanted into some of the beds. This spring, I will have it hoed and prepared for planting.

In a sense, it will become a memorial garden. I do not want Don’s philosophy about gardens being the closest earthly place to heaven to die with him. Planting and sowing are the very hallmarks of life and resurrection. I want to see this piece of earth flourish once again.

The memorials received after Don’s death will be put to work planting trees, bushes and vegetables. I plan to have a vegetable garden that will not just fill my canning jars, but I want to have fresh vegetables to donate to the food shelf in Don’s memory. He believed in helping others. His career in law enforcement was a commitment to helping others and to provide safety and well-being to the people he served. His garden will continue to offer sustenance and healthy vegetables to people in need.

As many of you know, I have written a great deal about gardens. Biblically, the first act of creation was the garden of Eden. Of course, I know its creation followed the formation of the universe. But, why do you suppose a garden was the first habitation? It’s simple — gardens not only nourish our bodies, they add beauty to our souls.

Gardens give us a place to enjoy nature. We can watch birds, squirrels, butterflies and various animals that love the food the gardens produce. I always encourage planting a little extra so the animals of the field can share in the harvest.

Don’t you get a lot of pleasure walking through gardens? Flowers smell heavenly and add the perfume of nature for us to enjoy. The colors, the scents and the beauty we enjoy are just a tiny piece of heaven. I believe gardens offer solace to our very souls. Gardens are wonderful places to meditate and pray. They are places of peace and harmony. They offer us so much in the way of peace and contentment.

This spring, I want to plant some flowering trees, some willows, maples and flowering shrubs. They not only will bring beauty, but they help our earth process carbon dioxide and provide oxygen for our benefit. Trees are living memorials to those who have passed from this world to the next. Symbolically, trees mean new life and energy for our planet.

When you can’t think of a gift for someone, consider planting a tree for them.


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